With the variety of options available to consumers on how and when to shop, retailers must stay competitive by putting the customer at the heart of their business and seek new ways to boost revenue and loyalty.
To help retailers succeed in this competitive marketplace, Microsoft has announced new capabilities for its Microsoft Dynamics for Retail solution, designed to deliver end-to-end, search-based e-Commerce, next-generation point of sale (POS) and an advanced omnichannel commerce engine, according to a Microsoft press release.
“There is a huge push to replace aging ‘merchandise’ systems with what are effectively retail ERP applications to deliver consistency of its master data,” explained George Lawrie, VP and Principal Analyst serving Application Development and Delivery Professionals at Forrester Research, “and consistency of supplier and customer data too.”
Retailers Jump To The Cloud
Many retailers are investing in the cloud to help reduce costs, engage employees and improve customer service. The Microsoft entry into this area is Office 365, an operating system designed to deliver enterprise-ready services that can be accessed through the cloud.
Companies that have deployed Microsoft Office 365 include: JCPenney, Helly Hansen and Tesco.
In selecting a cloud solution, JCPenney searched for a partner that would support the brand’s internal goals. “We realized that we could improve customer service even more by providing cloud-based collaboration tools to increase communication between team members,” said Kristen Blum, CTO of JCPenney.
Tesco chose Microsoft Office 365 for its companywide collaboration and social platform. Tesco wanted to “put technology in the hands of their colleagues, whether in the store, distribution center or office to create a value for their customers,” according to Mike McNamara, CIO. “Office 365 will enable us to be a fully connected organization that works closely together, proactively shares knowledge, motivates loyalty and retention of employees, and encourages better working practices.”
The Impact Of Omnichannel On The Entire Business Process
Retailers need innovation and a modern architecture for omnichannel, POS and e-commerce to be about more than just marketing, stated Michael Griffiths, Global Product Industry Director of Retail & Distribution for Microsoft Business Solutions. “We invest …in globalization and solution research and development to ensure that we support our customers with an industry-leading solution whose capabilities are built to work together, offering retailers a vision for the future that helps reduce cost and complexity.”
Companies that have deployed the solution include Edwin Watts Golf, Fanatics Inc., Lotus F1 Team and Marc Jacobs.
“Our products, especially golf clubs, are complex in that they are offered in a variety of technical specifications,” said Lynda Barr, CFO, Edwin Watts Golf. “As a result, we fill a high percentage of custom orders, we offer trade-in credit for old equipment and we have very specific customer service requirements. Thus, we needed the flexibility and ease of customization offered by Microsoft Dynamics for Retail.”